We all need to control our blood sugar levels in order to stay away from the risk of getting diabetes. But this depends on various factors like what you eat and the level of sugar consumption on a daily basis. But the latest study has found that the timing of the meals can severely affect blood sugar control too. There were around 845 adults who were part of the study, which took place in Spain. Each of these participants fasted for around eight hours and then they are allowed to have the first and early meal and a late meal based on their typical bedtime for the next two days.
Researchers carefully observed each participant’s genetic code within the melatonin receptor-1b gene. It must be noted that melatonin is a hormone primarily released at night that helps control sleep-wake cycles. This was done because an earlier study had lined a variant in the melatonin-1b gene with elevated levels of type-2 diabetes.
In natural late eaters, researchers, simulated early and late dinner timing. This was done by administering a glucose drink and comparing its effects on blood sugar control over two hours. They also looked at the differences between individuals who were carriers or not carriers of the genetic variant in the melatonin receptor.
Melatonin levels in a participant’s blood were found to be 2.5 times higher post-dinner. The delayed dinner timing also caused lower insulin levels and higher blood sugar levels. Looking at late dinner timing, participants with melatonin-1b G-allele had higher levels of blood sugar than those without the aforementioned genetic variant.
“We found that late eating disturbed blood sugar control in the whole group. Furthermore, this impaired glucose control was predominantly seen in genetic risk variant carriers,” lead author Marta Garaulet, PhD, a professor of physiology and nutrition in the Department of Physiology at the University of Murcia said.
“Our findings are applicable to about a third of the population in the industrialized world who consume food close to bedtime, as well as other populations who eat at night, including shift workers, or those experiencing jet lag or night eating disorders, as well as those who routinely use melatonin supplements close to food intake,” said Co-senior author Frank A.J.L. Scheer, director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at BWH added, Co-senior author Frank A.J.L. Scheer, director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at BWH.